Recently I’ve been feeling like a dead leaf. Lifeless and lacking purpose. Drifting without direction. Discouraged and defeated.
Surprisingly, raising a son with mental illness (MI) didn’t do me in. My multiple sclerosis (MS) hasn’t conquered me. My thwarted writing plans snarled me. Leaving me sinking in quicksand.
Strange how we can handle the big problems. And how smaller disappointments demolish our determination. So what was my final knock-down punch?
The marketing plan I created to promote my picture book hasn’t been yielding the intended results fast enough. My throne of self-sufficiency has crumbled.
Howie noticed my discouragement and lovingly said, “Don’t worry, Vic, we’ll figure it out.”
“I think that’s been my problem,” I replied. “I’VE been figuring it out. I need to figure HIM out.”
Since I can’t control the course of my MS or the symptoms of Chris’s MI, I’m starved for control. My problem has been this obsession to control things. I want to control SOMETHING in my life. Can you identify?
Our power to manage everything associated with MI is limited. MI prevents our kids from responding to our love.
Do you reach out to your child only to have him shut down? Is your comfort rejected?
Sometimes our well-meaning efforts backfire.
Do your peaceful words only enflame his anger? Does your child refuse to follow your advice? Do you intervene on your child’s behalf only to be misunderstood? Have you sought the advice of countless specialists only to have no clear diagnosis?
We encounter obstacles and dead ends.
What tempts you to give up? How many times can you get knocked down and rise again? How long can you support your child who has mental illness (MI) without seeing any improvement?
Quitting isn’t an option. What mother could ever abandon her most vulnerable child? So we try and try. Even though nothing seems to help our child with MI.
The eagle can provide insight into why our efforts fail. Instead of relying on its massive wingspan (average 6’ – 7.5’), it waits for the perfect conditions to step off its peak.
It soars and glides with less effort because it goes with the flow of God’s winds. Air currents, such as slope updrafts (winds that runs into a mountain and are forced to rise), enable the eagle to rise without flapping its wings. A massive eagle can simply float upward by catching a ride on rising bubbles of hot air called “thermals.”
Like the eagle, we can wait for God’s perfect timing. That will keep us from flapping in our own strength. We can depend on His power to carry us through the journey.
Those of us who are downcast have this promise: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)”
Picture that. God’s hand cradling you. Then imagine Him gently lifting you up. In due time, He’ll uplift your countenance and soothe your emotions if you trust Him with all your cares. He’s sure to guide you along HIS path.
Feeling weary? Tired of the trial? In a pit of hopelessness? God’s Word promises you’ll soar like an eagle if you hope in Him.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)”
God saw my problem: the anguish of my soul.
“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. (Psalm 31:7)”
God provided the solution: the Anchor for my soul.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)”
Let’s trade anguish for the Anchor. Let’s not lose hope. Or give up. Let’s keep doing our best and trust God for the rest.
Following God’s lead through trials gets easier. His constant faithfulness demonstrates the Truth of His Word. His love never fails.
The group Jesus Culture reminds us in their song ‘One Thing Remains’ that God’s love, “never fails, never gives up, never runs out.”
I have learned first hand that fear can turn us into control freaks . And who is without fear of this unknown irratic illness that plagues our sons and daughters? We must decrease from their lives when they get to a certain age but we have a hard time doing this as they never seem to reach a maturity,Like that eagle who teaches her young to fly, we are frustrated when we cannot teach them to be responsible for themselves. I believe the Lord will take up when mother and father leave their adult children with MI to Him. This is something I have had to do since my MI son is also a prodigal.
I stand on this promise, that The Lord will perfect that which concerns me, Psalm 138:8. And what concerns me is his return to the Lord ..
I’m sorry to hear your MI son is also a prodigal. Your testimony is powerful. In spite of your fears and frustration, you leave your adult child with God and stand on His promises. I love the one you shared. Though our journeys may be different, we all share deep concerns. That’s a verse we all can cling to as we wait—for our child to return to the Lord, for restored peace and clarity of thought, for guidance, for healed marriages and relationships…
“We must decrease from their lives when they get to a certain age but we have a hard time doing this”: So true and such an understatement at times!!!
Thanks for the reminder and challenge to relinquish control to God.
I have read your words twice now and still can’t remember what I wanted to. I just know am having a very rough day with Keith and its so easy to lose hope. My husband and I love the “eagles wings” scripture and used to sing it in Sunday school all the time, about a thousand years ago!!!
I will keep on reading scripture , my bible study and pray for hope and to remember God’s promises. Its been a rough week and I am drained, drained and drained.
And for Cindy, I too, have a prodigal son in many ways. He will not pray, says heaven is not real and many other hurtful things. At one time, actually many, , we would not hear from him for weeks and didn’t know where he was or whether he was alive and dead. People just don’t have a clue of how MI destroys our lives!! Now we know where he is but thought we had lost him again a few weeks ago. The hope of getting better seems so far away to me now as I am so weary as I know you are. But I will cling to the verses you quoted and the hope in His anchor.
I’m so sorry to hear your having a very rough day today and a tough week. Especially since just a few weeks ago you thought you’d lost Keith. My heart broke as I read your message for Cindy—the part about how Keith “will not pray, says heaven is not real and many other hurtful things.” I can relate. One of the saddest parts of this journey is when MI distorts God’s Truth in the minds of our sons.
“People just don’t have a clue of how MI destroys our lives!!”: so true!!!
Only someone dealing with a child who has MI knows how it can be so draining. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Years of dealing with it leaves us ‘SO weary.’ It tempts us to give up and lose all hope. Some of us have to face the reality that things may never get better. Yet, we have access to His perfect peace amid our tremendous sorrow.
That’s why we literally hang on to His promises and cling to verses about Him being our Anchor. And we encourage each other to hang in there. Thanks for being such an inspiration. Even in the midst of your worst times you’re still resolved to, “keep on reading scripture, my bible study and pray for hope and to remember God’s promises.”
May God comfort and encourage you in ways only He can.
Thank you for your kind words. I so value your honesty, your soul and heart emotions in your writing. I so identify with this because I do share my inner feelings with certain people. Some cannot handle it, some don’t care, etc. but its so refreshing to know someone else knows how it feel to live in anothers skin, so to speak.
I am sorry your marketing program for your book is not panning out like you wanted it to. But hope I can say without sounding presumptuous, that it brought you back to God in this area of your life and gave you back your peace and joy in Him and His anchor. It may seem funny to others who could not possibly “get it” ( and thats not their fault) as to how MI and MS did not cause such grief but a book did. I get it totally. There is so much we think we have lost, when in our walk with God we have actually gained so much more than we would ever had have in living the “easy life”, whatever that might be. We know nothing is in our control, but in our little human minds, (speaking only for myself) we, I, so want to just have one thing in our (my) hands to control. Just one little thing God. Is that to much to ask?? Yes. It feels like so much of us has been taken away, when in reality we are in the process if becoming less and less of us and more and more of Him till the day we take our last breath. As the Hopekeepers Bible study that God and I are doing says it won’t be easy, it won’t be quick and it won’t be easy. This is Max Lucado’s book, You’ll get through this. It is so so good but soul searching, deep hard life questions, etc.
Sorry so long but felt led to write this.
Praying you are resting in Him and His love and His strength in your waiting and renewing as I am.
You’ll be happy to know my thwarted marketing plan has brought me, “back to God in this area of my life and given me back my peace and joy in Him and His anchor.”
How true that we have lost much in the “hard life” we live, but greater still is how much we’ve gained in our walk with God because of our illness. Makes me wonder, if I could choose to accept my MS or not, would I choose to accept it? Is it all worth it? I know God is using it to make me more like Him…”We are in the process of becoming less and less of us and more and more of Him till the day we take our last breath.”
What a perfect prayer: “Praying you are resting in Him and His love and His strength in your waiting and renewing as I am.” Thanks!!!
Resting, waiting, and renewing…